11 September 2020.
THE PERSONAL HISTORY OF DAVID COPPERFIELD **
The classic, semi-autobiographical Charles Dickens’ tale of the hardships, adventures and growth of a young man has been turned here into a series of discombobulated characters that seem to be there to satisfy the director’s sense of egalitarianism. To begin with, the charismatic Dev Patel, who is of Indian descent, plays Copperfield, and he is excellent. His white schoolmate’s mother is black, an English schoolmaster is played by a Chinese while his daughter looks Caribbean, and it just goes on from there…all quite confusing and unnecessary. And this is in Victorian England.
But then color-blind casting is politically correct and the trend these days. We now have King Lear played by Glenda Jackson and all sorts of reverse roles in recent films and plays, to prove that we’re all so very equal.
The film does have its standout characters played by actors such as Hugh Laurie, Tilda Swinton and an especially clingy Ben Whishaw as Uriah Heep. It’s a somewhat entertaining, hectic, frustrating work that doesn’t match Dickens’s masterpiece.
LA DARONNE (Mama Weed) **1/2 (vo French)
This amusing French comedy owes much to a surprisingly light, fun Isabelle Huppert as a police interpreter who translates the conversations of Arab drug dealers into French. Between her quirky mother who’s in a clinic where the helpful nurse is a relative to one of the dealers, her two devoted daughters and her own love affair with the police chief, she has a pretty full life.
It gets more complicated and hilarious as she falls in with some petty drug dealers and a huge cache of drugs that she begins to deal in herself.
She’s a hoot in her colorful Arab disguise and though the script is mostly improbable, it’s good fun and proof that Huppert doesn’t always need to do the dark, twisted roles with which she’s more identified. At 67, she’s looking here especially young and radiant – would love to know who’s her plastic surgeon…
Look up the films, times and cinemas on cineman.ch.
Superb **** Very Good *** Good ** Mediocre * Miserable – no stars
Neptune Ravar Ingwersen reviews film extensively for publications in Switzerland. She views 4 to 8 films a week and her aim is to sort the wheat from the chaff for readers.